2019 Presidential Election Second Round Vote: Polling stations close in Ukraine, vote counting begins
Ukrainians went to the polls today to cast their ballot in the second round election to choose the next president of Ukraine. The 29,982 polling stations in the country have now closed. The last polling station abroad will close at 6 am Kyiv-time in San Francisco on Monday, April 22. In the coming hours, election officials will be counting the votes cast in each polling station. Overall, 29,659,402 voters were included in the voter list for this election. Of these voters, 700,351 people opted to vote at their place of stay (homebound voters). Some 552,000 voters were registered to vote abroad at Ukrainian embassies and consulates in 72 countries.
Turnout figures released by the Central Election Commission (CEC) based on phone-in reports by 199 of 199 district election commissions (DECs) are 18.15 percent at 11 am, 45.26 percent at 3 pm and 62.05 percent at 8 pm. According to CEC data, figures from similar timeframes were reported during the day in the 2014 presidential election at 17.60 percent, 40.36 percent, and 62.53 percent, respectively.
The two candidates with the highest number of votes from the first round, out of the record number of 39 presidential candidates who were on the ballot for the first round vote, ran in the second round: incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received 15.95 percent of the votes in the first round, and Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who led the first round vote with 30.24 percent of the votes cast.
139 Ukrainian non-governmental organizations registered a total of 83,230 domestic observers. Official observers from 22 countries abroad and 19 international organizations fielded an additional 2,700 international observers.
According to the Ukrainian NGO Civil Network OPORA, isolated cases of irregularities that did not influence the election outcome were observed, including issues such as isolated cases of: voters being allowed to vote without showing proper identification, violation of the secrecy of the vote. In one case OPORA observers detected ballot stuffing (election precinct No 440543 in Stanychno-Luhansk rayon of the Luhansk oblast), and this case is being investigated by the police. One polling station (No 140379 in Lebedynske of Donetsk oblast) was only opened for voting around 4 pm; the police have launched criminal proceedings against the PEC members. In general, no significant violations of electoral law were reported during election day. The scale of the detected violations, according to OPORA, is lower than compared to the first round vote.
PECs are now hard at work counting votes and filling in election results protocols, which will be sent to DECs for further tabulation before the CEC verifies and finalizes the results. Official results are to be announced by the CEC within ten days but, given that only two candidates ran in the second round (compared to 39 in the first round), the final results are likely to be announced in five to seven days or earlier, depending on the number and nature complaints and appeals filed during the process and against the preliminary results.
The CEC will release information about the preliminary results on a dedicated page in Ukrainian, please find the link here.
The IFES Ukraine team also worked on the ground during election day, visiting 16 polling stations.